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“Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

A fun update: My husband and I recently closed on 10.01 beautiful acres in West Branch, MI. From finding the listing to closing, the whole process was an interesting path that I'll outline below. Within one minute of my sending the listing to him, he replies back "I like it, let's do it." Now that's a good partner right there.

The property borders right along a golf course, it's undeveloped and FULL of beautiful trees, and the best part is that the entire area is pretty much open and hasn't succumbed to the two larger vacation areas that surround it. These are just a few of the numerous reasons that we jumped at the opportunity.

I like when people are really transparent when talking about their process, so that's what I'm going to do here. While I originally thought this would be pretty smooth, quick, and easy, (it's just trees!) - it was none of those things.

We chose to use a lender, a small local credit union whose clients are usually buying farm or hunting land. After some research, (see previous post: 5 Tips for Finding and Buying Land), I deduced that the property was accurately priced based on recently sold nearby and similarly sized comparable properties.

We made an offer (asking price of $55k) and it was accepted. The fun began! Or so I thought.

Here's something I have learned from numerous rounds of offers, negotiations, etc. regarding real estate: While you expect all parties involved to be professional, a lot of times, they are not. Because the land was sort of in the middle of nowhere, it was relatively hard to get to unless you really knew where you were going. Even though the seller had an agent whose office was just 20 minutes from the property, when it came time to have our appraiser go out there, that agent didn't seem to want to help him locate it. We *almost* had to find someone else until the appraiser agreed to go out again, and the seller's agent finally brought us out there. Eventually, the appraiser and I arrived at the site and I got to see it for myself as well.

Again, as stated in my previous post, GET A LAND APPRAISAL! This man was a wealth of information. He showed me everything I should be looking for when looking to build, and talked about what affects an appraisal (anything from the types of trees to how hard is to get there.) He answered so many of my questions and I left that site visit feeling more empowered to get this beautiful piece of property.

The land ended up appraising for $15k less than the asking price, and we negotiated and offered $47K, a good deal if you ask me! Now, why on earth would I want to pay over what it was "worth"? The answer truly lies in what something is worth to you. In my case, I see an area that has yet to be taken over by a huge vacation rental industry. I see a very cute downtown aesthetic just 20 minutes away, beautiful untouched land just waiting for the perfect nonintrusive A-frame cabin, 10 quiet wooded acres full of wildlife, and probably the biggest selling point (if you have small children you will understand), is that it is only 2.5 hours away from our main residence, as opposed to 4-ish hours to other parts of northern Michigan. I still get the up-north feel without having to go to the tip-top of the state!

I am beyond grateful to have the opportunity to create and build a dream cabin that not only me and my family can enjoy, but to also welcome guests and help them to relax, unplug, and enjoy the outdoors. If you've followed along this far, big things are ahead. I can't wait to share the coming updates and show you what we have in store for this cabin!


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